Blurring the lines between virtual and real life

An interesting article at BusinessWeek, My Virtual Life.

It talks about how people make real money from virtual worlds (“Chung’s firm now has virtual land and currency holdings worth about $250,000 in real U.S. greenbacks”), how ” World of Warcraft is ‘the new golf'”, and how Second Life’s resident “can build anything they can imagine, from notary services to candles that burn down to pools of wax.”

It goes on with pointing that this is part of a new entertainment model, “Don’t just watch — do something. ‘They all feel like they’re creating a new world, which they are,’ says Linden Lab Chief Executive Philip Rosedale.”. Moreover, residents retain full ownership of their creation. But as Will Wright points out, “The tools are the weak spot”. (did he try virtools? 😉

This also helps rise attention of other businesses as to how 3D can improve their business : “The British branding firm Rivers Run Red is working with real-world fashion firms and media companies inside Second Life, where they’re creating designs that can be viewed in all their 3D glory by colleagues anywhere in the world.” ( 3D4ALL ? 😉

“Ultimately, what are the societal implications of spending so many hours playing, or even working, inside imaginary worlds? Nobody really has good answers yet.”

And what if all the work done for free and fun inside the virtual world could be used to achieve “real” work ? ” Seriosity is exploring whether routine real-world responsibilities might be assigned to a custom online game. Workers having fun, after all, likely will be more productive. ”

Finally, what will be of this virtual life ? “My avatar, which so far has acted much like me, (…) suddenly is taking on a life of his own. Who will my alter ego turn out to be? I don’t know yet. And maybe that’s the best thing about virtual worlds (..) we can make of our second lives whatever we choose.”

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